A SpaceX spacecraft carrying four astronauts will return to Earth before dawn on Friday (May 6) and you can watch it happen live online.
The SpaceX Dragon capsule Endurance is poised to splash down off the coast of Florida at 12:43 a.m. EDT (0443 GMT) to wrap up a six-month mission to the International Space Station. You can watch the landing in the video feed at the top of this page, courtesy of NASA TV. NASA is showing live views from Mission Control in Houston and mission recaps until splashdown.
Riding aboard the Dragon capsule are Crew-3 commander Raja Chari, pilot Thomas Marshburn and mission specialist Kayla Barron — all of NASA — alongside mission specialist Matthias Maurer of the European Space Agency. SpaceX launched the four astronauts to the station in November and they undocked from the outpost in the wee hours of this morning.
In photos: SpaceX’s Crew-3 astronaut launch for NASA
“It’s been an interesting day for us. We’ve been flying around the station collecting our last-minute photos or last minute items and getting ready to come home,” Marshburn said in a farewell ceremony Thursday (May 4). “So a bit of a bittersweet day for all of us.”
Crew-3 marked SpaceX’s third operational crewed flight for NASA (and fourth overall for the agency). It was the company’s fifth human spaceflight after a private Inspiration4 mission to orbit last September. The company has since launched the Ax-1 mission to the International Space Station and the Crew-4 mission for NASA, both in April.
In pictures: Amazing launch photos of SpaceX’s Crew-4 mission
During their six months in space, the Crew-3 astronauts performed hundreds of science experiments and conducted three spacewalks. They also welcomed the first all-private crew to the station during SpaceX’s Ax-1 mission, which sent four private astronauts to the station for Axiom Space in April.
“It’s just been an honor of a lifetime to contribute to the legacy of this incredible vessel that’s been up here for 20 years,” Barron said in the farewell ceremony.
Marshburn, who served as commander of the station’s Expedition 67 mission, handed control of the outpost over to Russian cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev before departing the orbiting lab this week. Artemyev is overseeing a crew that includes Russian cosmonauts Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov and Crew-4 astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Bob Hines, Jessica Watkins (all of NASA) and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency.